New regulations coming for seabed mining
ISA advance negatiations on regulations for seabed mining.

The Council of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) has advanced negotiations on the draft exploitation regulations for mineral resources in the Caribbean.

The four areas of focus include: i) a financial model and payment mechanism for deep-sea mining; ii) the protection and preservation of the marine environment; iii) inspection, compliance and enforcement and iv) institutional matters.

The regulations were the centre of discussion at the second part of the 27th session of the Council of the ISA where 35 of the 36 members of the council attended the session in person or virtually; other members and 14 observers were also in attendance.

Jamaican Ambassador Alison Stone Roofe said the meetings reflected "productive days of detailed, considered negotiations and useful exchanges, which will take the deliberations of the council further along our programme of work."

She further highlighted "the deep seabed and its resources remain the common heritage of humankind. For under-resourced small island developing states like Jamaica, our ability to participate in regulating and protecting the marine environment and sharing eventual benefits is enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). For Jamaica, an opportunity to further advance the work it began in the creation of UNCLOS and to allow for the translation of any benefits via a highly regulated scientific-based industry is critical."

In the meantime, the head of the Singapore's delegation, Sanjay Nanwani, also welcomed the progress of the council's deliberations.

"Singapore appreciates the efforts of the facilitators [of the working groups of the council] to forge consensus on the many complex issues before us. We will continue to contribute actively to these discussions to ensure that any mining activity is subject to robust, clear and comprehensive safeguards for the protection of the marine environment," he said.

The assembly is expected to consider and adopt the proposed budget of ISA for the financial period 2023–2024 during its meetings between August 1 and 5, 2022.

Meanwhile, the head of the delegation of Argentina, Federico Gabriel Hirsch, underscored the important role of the ISA Council "as the executive organ of ISA, the work of the council has been crucial in supervising and coordinating the implementation of a unique governance regime established by UNCLOS and the 1994 Agreement, which promotes and regulates exploration and future exploitation of mineral seabed resources in the Area that is a common heritage of mankind," he said.

According to the road map endorsed by the members of the council, the 27th session of the ISA Council will be held in three parts. The third and last part of the 27th session of the council will take place in November 2022.

The International Seabed Authority is a Kingston, Jamaica-based intergovernmental body of 167 member states and the European Union established under the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and its 1994 Agreement on Implementation.

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